The UK meningococcal serogroup C conjugate (MCC) vaccine program has successfully controlled serogroup C disease, due to high vaccine effectiveness and substantial herd immunity. However, children immunised at 2, 3 and 4 months of age receive only short-term direct protection and may be at risk of disease 15 months after vaccination. To investigate this we applied a mathematical model to predict the future epidemiology of serogroup C disease, with and without changes to the immunization schedule. Only a few cases of serogroup C disease were predicted to occur over the next few years because of persisting herd immunity, even without a change to the vaccine schedule. The inclusion of a booster dose is likely to improve the impact of the MCC program and reducing the number of doses in infancy will improve cost-effectiveness and create space in the schedule for the addition of other vaccines.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We thank Nigel Gay for his contribution in developing the original model. We also thank our colleagues in the Health Protection Agency Immunisation Department and Meningococcal Reference Unit for providing data. W.J.E.’s post was supported by the UK Department of Health. No additional financial support was required (funded as part of core activities of the Health Protection Agency).
- Conjugate vaccines
- Mathematical models
- Meningococcal disease